LACRYMA CHRISTI

La lacrima di Monte Vesuvio volgarmente Lacryma Christi.  Ditirambo. 

Naples, Dallo stabiolimento del Guttemberg, 1841. 

16mo, pp. 67, [1]; some light marginal foxing, small area reinforced to verso of title, but a very good copy, bound in nineteenth-century plain green wrappers; contemporary manuscript authorship attribution note to title.

£750

Approximately:
US $915€840

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La lacrima di Monte Vesuvio volgarmente Lacryma Christi.  Ditirambo. 

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First and only edition, very rare, of one of the earliest works entirely devoted to Lacryma Christi, a red or white wine obtained from grapes growing on the fertile volcanic soil on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, near Naples. 

Various legends surround the origin of Lacryma Christi and its name; one has it coming from the tears shed by Christ in sorrow after Lucifer, falling from heaven, tore off a strip of paradise and with it created the gulf of Naples, finally crashing through the ground and forming a chasm in what is now Mount Vesuvius.  History tells us that wine has been produced on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius since Antiquity, and what is now the red variation of Lacryma Christi is the nearest equivalent to the wine drunk by the Ancient Romans.  In more recent times, it was produced first by Franciscan friars and later by Jesuits; it was finally awarded the DOC designation in 1983. 

This ‘sacred and ancient wine… fades into very sweet aromas of wild herbs, has the mysterious colour of infernal fire, the taste of lava, lapilli and ashes that buried Herculaneum and Pompeii’ (Curzio Malaparte, La pelle, trans.). 

The author of this poem, Ugo Bassi (1801–1849), was a Barnabite priest who served as chaplain in Garibaldi’s army during the 1848–1849 Revolutions and the First Italian Independence War.  Captured by the Austrians on the 2nd August 1849, Bassi was sentenced to death without trial and was executed by firing squad, raising the protests of Liberals all over Europe and adding his name to the martyrs of the Italian Risorgimento. 

OCLC records only two copies outside of Italy, at the Bibliothèque centrale du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in France and University College London in the UK. 

Furchheim (ed.), Bibliografia del Vesuvio, p. 14. 

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